Waldorf Center for Higher Education Makes College Degrees AccessibleUniversity of Maryland University College (UMUC) and the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the Waldorf Center on May 1, with an event that highlighted the longstanding history of collaboration between the two institutions that has expanded higher education opportunities for students throughout Southern Maryland.
"Our philosophy since 1947 is to go where the students are," said UMUC Provost Marie A. Cini, speaking to a crowd of celebrants that included University System of Maryland Vice Chancellor for Government Relations P.J. Hogan, and President of the Maryland Senate Mike Miller.
The UMUC/CSM partnership exercises the same community minded approach to locally-based education. For the past 20 years, the two institutions have worked together to serve Southern Maryland students. Prior to the present-day Waldorf Center opening its doors, UMUC/CSM partners worked out of a store front in a local shopping center to develop innovative ways of making higher education accessible and affordable for students wishing to progress from associate’s to bachelor’s to master’s degrees.
Said Cini, "affordability is paramount." As a measure of its continued commitment to contain costs, and as part of the anniversary celebration, she announced that UMUC will offer a special scholarship for up to 15 eligible CSM graduates, who will pay 1999 tuition rates.
The "anniversary" scholarship is offered in addition to UMUC’s Completion Scholarship unveiled in December 2013. Available to qualified graduates from any of Maryland’s 16 community colleges, the Completion Scholarship brings the total out-of-pocket cost for a four-year degree down to about $20,000—including the cost of the associate's degree.
Students are graduating with an average of $30,000 in loans, so the $20,000 scholarship is not to be minimized, said CSM President Dr. Bradley Gottfried. "Hundreds and hundreds of students take classes at the Waldorf Center because of the affordability and access. It’s all about Marylanders achieving their dreams."
Gottfried describes the UMUC/CSM Waldorf Center partnership as unique. "Our two organizations work hand-in-glove so that CSM students can transfer to UMUC and get their four-year degree without having to leave the building." The occasion of the anniversary celebration is a way for people to understand what the Waldorf Center offers, he said.
A veterans’ lounge will open there soon so that veterans from UMUC and CSM can come together, find support, and get the services they need, Cini said. There are plans to expand programs and services for working adults, including an accelerated degree format and new alternatives for earning college credits, such as through workplace learning.
Thousands of students annually pursue more than 20 different degrees or certificates at the Waldorf Center in Accounting, Business Administration, Information Technology, and other areas, Comey added.
Said Gottfried, "the Waldorf Center is a wonderful, wonderful option. Many people that come to us would not have been able to afford an education any other way."
To learn more about the Waldorf Center for Higher Education, click here.